sustainability

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Design

Waste Electrical Wires Are Woven into Delicate, Lace Garments by Designer Alexandra Sipa

July 14, 2020

Anna Marks

All images © Alexandra Sipa, shared with permission

United Kingdom-based designer Alexandra Sipa creates spellbinding accessories and garments from waste electrical wires. The Central Saint Martins’ graduate initially was inspired to experiment with wires as textiles when her headphones broke, leading her to extract the colorful coils and cables to create wire lace. 

The designer learned to craft vibrant lace from YouTube videos, books, and her own mishaps, and one of her enchanting dresses took 1,000 hours to complete. Many cultural and historical references are woven into her pieces, including her interest in extreme austerity and heightened femininity in Romania. “The aesthetic of Bucharest is a mix of French architecture, grey brutalist apartment complexes, and mega communist structures (like the Palace of Parliament), while the women are usually very careful about the way they look, getting all dressed up for a supermarket trip and loving the ultra-glamorous, ultra-feminine look.”

Objects of nostalgia, the ruffled garments evoke her Romanian grandmother’s damaged, garden fence. They mirror the endless colors that were revealed throughout the cracks. More broadly, Sipa’s work is dedicated to how her grandmother cares for her household objects, reinventing them with time. “Every time I visit her, there’s something changed around the house, something moved, something repainted,” the designer says. “She will make any object look like a treasure, no matter where it came from. That stuck with me.”

Sipa’s garments echo her views on sustainability, and she believes that otherwise unwanted products should be seen as an opportunity to create new inventions and discover unusual techniques. “As my practice is rooted in creating luxury products out of local waste sources, my collection tackles one of the fastest-growing sources of waste in electronic waste, reaching 50 million tons in 2020,” she explains.

The designer’s goal is the complete circularity of her garments. “The industry is becoming aware of the urgency for change due to the climate emergency and the increasing demand from consumers for more sustainable options,” she explains. “However, companies need to recognize the business opportunity in the circular fashion industry.” The designer also stresses the importance of recognizing the economic, environmental, and social impacts. “ Fashion needs to become more sustainable from the inside out, not only in the materials used but also ethically in the treatment and compensation of workers in the production chain and workers designing the clothes.”

To follow Sipa’s vividly woven designs, head to Instagram, where she shares updates on new pieces and glimpses into her studio. (via Euronews)

 

 

 

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Making of :::: Look 1 from ROMANIAN CAMOUFLAGE. Discarded Electrical Wires Lace Dress. @bafcsm @1granary #bafcsm20

A post shared by ALEXANDRA SIPA (@alexandrasipa) on

 

 



Design

Six Students Design Solar-Powered Lamps From Collagen, Black Beans, and Agave Plants

June 1, 2020

Grace Ebert

Six lamps designed by Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey students

A 2019 study notes that 1.8 million residents of Mexico live without electricity, while some sources say an additional five million have limited access. In an effort to provide affordable, sustainable solar power, six students from the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey have designed lamps that can be constructed easily with materials commonly found throughout Mexico’s rural areas. Using wicker, agave plants, coconut bark, adobe, collagen, and black beans, the designers have created hand-held vessels powered by reusable solar cells and LED lights.

Inspired by artist Olafur Eliasson’s (previously) similarly sustainable Little Sun, Moisés Hernández, who led the project,  told Dezeen that students were tasked with creating lamps with easily reproducible exteriors. “With these new material ideas that came from different sites across Mexico, where the weather and context are so different, the students visualized new scenarios where these type of technological objects can be assembled and distributed to local people,” Hernández said. When the lamps need to be replaced, users simply can remove the solar and LED components and position them in new vessels.

 

Black bean lamp by Oscar Andrés Méndez Hernández

Adobe, recycled paper, and cactus slime lamp by Luis Fernando Sánchez Barrios

Coconut lamp by Rafael Sánchez Brizuela

Lamp of wicker made by craftsmen in Tequisquiapan, Queretaro, designed by Aniela Mayte Guerrero Hernández

A lamp of collagen spread over a coconut shell form by Naoto Ricardo Kobayashi Utsumoto

Agave-plant waste lamp by Viridiana Palma Dominguez

Coconut lamp by Rafael Sánchez Brizuela

 

 



Design Food

Gourds Grown in Vessel-Shaped Molds Become Reusable Cups and Flasks

April 27, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © CRÈME, shared with permission

With Jun Aizaki’s latest design, you could be picking up your morning latte poured into a dried gourd rather than a disposable adorned with a green siren. The Brooklyn-based designer, who owns CRÈME, recently launched a project to reduce single-use plastic waste by shaping the flowering fruit into simple drinking vessels. Heading The Gourd Project, Aizaki created both a cup and a flask that can hold hot and cold liquids and are an alternative to traditional products. After three to six uses, the containers can be composted with other food waste.

Aizaki “explored the century-old craft of drying plants to make receptacles, in order to find a way to reduce plastic and contribute to nature through design,” project organizers said. Each biodegradable vessel takes about six weeks to grow from its first planting at a Pennsylvania farm with six harvests each year. Because gourds have tough skin and fibrous insides, they’re shaped easily as they fill out. Each 3D mold is made of plastic right now, although the team hopes to switch to reusable materials once it expands production.

The sustainable project comes amid reports that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is increasing plastic consumption and affecting how, and if, the material is recycled, in addition to companies banning reusable cups and containers to stop the spread of the virus.

Follow the design firm’s waste-conscious products on Instagram, and stay tuned for the project’s upcoming launch on Kickstarter. You also might want to check out this lobster shell upcycle.

 

 



Design

Small Shapes Slot Together to Construct Vessels That Can Be Reconfigured

January 10, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Kenji Abe

To combat single-use plastic waste, Tokyo-based designer Kenji Abe has conceived of a packaging material that can be arranged in various shapes and refashioned multiple times. The six-tipped CY-BO pieces can be woven together to create pouches, placemats, and other vessels that then can be deconstructed and reused. The project even reached the final rounds of the 2018 Kokuyo Design Awards.

Because of the shape’s flexibility, Abe says other materials like leather can be used in its place to create similar products. “It is a new packaging material that can be used depending on one’s ideas,” Abe told Plain Magazine. “Because in order to reduce discarded plastic, it’s necessary to make packing materials that can be reused as many times as possible.” You can follow more of Abe’s inventive designs on Instagram.

 

 



Design

Architecture Firm NUDES Uses Corrugated Cardboard to Form the Furnishings and Walls of a Mumbai Cafe

March 29, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

In the new Mumbai-based cafe Cardboard Bombay, corrugated cardboard composes each chair, table, and light fixture, in addition to the sinuous walls which sweep across the space. The restaurant was designed with the biodegradable material by Nuru Karim, founder of Mumbai-based architectural firm NUDES, who chose the material because of its sustainability, versatility, and ability to absorb sound.

Before starting on the cafe the design team tested the cardboard they wished to use, researching how it would react with typical hospitality factors such as water resistance and temperature changes. Next NUDES designed the undulating chairs, light fixtures, and wall partitions to have a similar free-flowing appearance, and treated cardboard tables with wax to seal the furniture and prevent damage. You can see more images from the (via designboom)

Image via Mrigank Sharma

Image via Mrigank Sharma

Image via Mrigank Sharma

Image via Mrigank Sharma

Image via Mrigank Sharma

Image via @loverand.co

Image via @loverand.co

Image via Mrigank Sharma

Image via Mrigank Sharma

 

 



Design

LEGO Launches a Rotating Wind Turbine with Trees Made From Plant-Based Plastic

September 28, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

LEGO recently launched a new 826-piece set that includes a three-foot tall wind turbine. The fully functioning power source features aircraft warning lights and adjustable blades, and towers above a cottage surrounded by trees and a garden. This is the first LEGO set to use a new plant-based plastic formulated from sugarcane, which comprises the kit’s spruce trees. The turbine, which is a collaboration with the Danish sustainable energy company Vestas, was previously developed in 2008 but was never released to the public. The updated set will be available through LEGO stores and online on November 23, 2018. (via Designboom)